Collection + Exhibits
Object of the Month
Get a glimpse of the past with highlighted artifacts from the museum’s collection.
With more than 10,00 artifacts in our collection, there’s a lot to learn about. Come along with us as we unearth one item a month and take a deep dive into its use, significance, and any community stories connected to its history, meaning, or purpose.
From archival photographs to awards, manufacturing tools and inventions to locally made holiday ornaments from a once renown manufacturer—get a glimpse into the past, right now.
March 2023: Women in the mills
In recognition of women’s history month, we are highlighting two photographs from our collection of women working in the mills. Women played a crucial role in the manufacturing history of Lewiston-Auburn. The textile mills provided women an opportunity for work outside of domestic life. The first woman to graduate from Bates College funded her education from money she made working in the mills. Women continue to play a vital role in the local economy today with numerous women-owned businesses and community organizations.
Did you miss a past Object of The Month?
We’ve gone through a treasure trove of items from our collection over the years. Scroll through and see what you may have missed.
July 2022: American Bobbin Co. Panoramic Photograph
This photograph was taken in October 1947, outside of the company’s office on 47 Whipple Street in Lewiston. American Bobbin Co. started in 1945, when it absorbed the name and assets of a Rhode Island corporation that had functioned since 1920. The company was a part...
June 2022: Cotton
This month we are featuring cotton: the product from which most textiles originate. In honor of Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved peoples in the United States, we’d like to acknowledge the dark history associated with cotton, and thus...
May 2022: Valuation of Machinery Booklet
Museum L-A’s May Object of the Month is the York Manufacturing Company's Valuation of Machinery booklet from 1853 to 1892. Built on Saco Island in 1831, the York Manufacturing company milled cotton goods, operating with 1,000 workers by 1839. It’s predecessor was the...
April 2022: Photograph of a Brick Maker
This undated photograph shows a man standing on a brick cart in front of an impressive pile of bricks. The worker puffs a cigarette while laboring in the Dennis Brickyard. On his hands, you can see large white gloves. Without these special gloves, the skin on a...
March 2022: Photograph of Female Workers
Happy Women’s History Month. Female weavers played a huge part in the successful operation of the Bates Mills, working to create bedspreads, sheets, and other beautiful textile pieces. This month, we are highlighting a photograph circa 1910 of three female employees....
February 2022: Whitin-Schweiter Automatic Filling Winder
This automatic filling winder made sure that bobbins were fully wound with yarn in preparation for weaving on a jacquard loom. Work on this machine involved placing cones of yarn on reels or spindles of the machine; threading yarn through the various guides;...
January 2022: Piano Punching Machine
The creation of Jacquard cards to control the weave sequence on a textile loom was a multi-step process. A crucial piece of this process involved the use of the Piano Punching Machine, which is our object of the month. It encoded the fabric design into stacks of cards...
Help preserve Maine MILL artifacts
Antique and vintage items need a lot of maintenance to prolong their lifetime. Help us to preserve and care for these historical items and representations of our community’s history by donating today.